The heart of PRISM is the Area Stewards program. In this program, PRISM members who are treating invasives on their own properties help their neighbors control those same species. This cooperative program between neighbors creates islands of invasive-free land that protects all participants from reinfestation. As more neighboring properties join the effort, the amount of invasive-free land expands, and the health of the woodlands increases.
We began 2015 with one landowner in each of Albemarle, Greene, and Rappahannock initiating the Area Stewards program. Two new areas were added in 2016, one in Albemarle and one in Nelson. We will measure our progress by the addition of more Area Stewards and the involvement of additional neighboring properties to each of these stewardship locations. Grants may be available for landowners joining an Area Stewardship.
The Snow Mountain Stewardship Area is wooded with beautiful trees that are threatened by non-native vines and grasses.
The Dutch Creek Area Stewardship
The core landowners in the Dutch Creek Area Stewardship in Nelson County own approximately 1,275 acres of contiguous, mostly forested land in a scenic, mountainous area of Virginia that has intrinsic natural resource value. The stewardship area itself is further protected by being encompassed within the 3,000-acre Dutch Creek Agricultural-Forestal District (DCAFD).
Invasive multiflora roses are crowding out the native plants along this creek.
The Duke Hollow Stewardship Area
The goal of the Duke Hollow (DH) PRISM site is to create a demonstration project showing that a few people can manage invasive plants on a scale of several hundred acres. The commitment of the landowners to continue monitoring the forest and avoid weed resurgence has been crucial to the success of the project.